I was noticing and thinking about something earlier today when it comes to food. In a lot of foods, in our quest to cut calories and fat, we've substituted astonishing amounts of salt for savory, for flavor that originally came from modest amounts of fat. Take a look at bacon, for example. Salty, to be sure, but savory even more so, which means you need comparatively little to make up that savory flavor. Take the bacon out of the recipe, any recipe, and you find yourself dumping in heaps of salt.
What really brought this to mind was noticing that the sodium on a lot of foods was way higher than seemed reasonable, especially for prepared foods. When I cook meals at home, I use salt, sure, but I also use higher fat items like butter, bacon, etc. as well as other, more expensive seasonings like fresh garlic, onion, and herbs. Prepared, manufactured foods probably go the lowest cost route and just dump the salt in instead of richer, tastier, more costly ingredients.
In the coming year, as the economy continues to struggle, one of the best things in the world you can do for yourself is learn to cook reasonably well. Not gourmet, not master chef, just competent. Good enough so that when you go out for dinner, you're more often than not disappointed, and the first thought on your mind is, "I could do this at home for half the cost and it'd taste better!" That's when you've achieved competence. You'll make tastier foods, you'll save a ton of money, and you might even eat healthier, since 1 gram of bacon in place of 10 grams of salt is a fair trade.
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